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What are the Symptoms of Breast Cancer?

Updated on July 18, 2011

It is vital that all women know and understand the symptoms of breast cancer. It has been proven time and time again that early detection is the key to surviving this awful disease. Breast cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer when it is detected early and more and more women and men are surviving the disease.

While breast self examination is important you must also keep an eye out for changes in the appearance of your breasts. Basic symptoms of the disease are pain and tenderness in the breast, lumps in the breast or the underarms, and changes in the skin of the breast.

I visited several sites while doing my research including and, they are both quite comprehensive in their coverage of this topic and are well worth a visit or two.

A symbol of Hope
A symbol of Hope | Source

A Personal Slant

I want to start off saying that I am an 11-year breast cancer survivor. I discovered I had a breast lump after I had breast reduction surgery (the two were not connected, the surgery made the lump easier to find, it did not cause the cancer). I assumed it was scar tissue but when I went to the doctor he had it removed as soon as possible and checked. It turned out to be a fast-growing form of breast cancer. I was back in surgery within weeks to have my lymph nodes checked. Luckily, the cancer had not spread. I did undergo chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The chemotherapy was done many as a preventative step.

It was a tough way to start my 40th year, but I made it through. The chemo did take away my ability to have children and brought on early menopause. But I hadn't planned on having children anyway.

Before I was diagnosed, I never gave any thought at all to breast cancer or to cancer at all. Even though I had known people who had died of the disease, I assumed it would be someone else's disease. My diagnosis certainly opened my eyes.

Breast Cancer Symptoms

Lumps in the breast or the underarms

Perhaps the most noticeable symptom is breast cancer is a lump in your breast. A lump can be many things, a cyst, an infection, or scar tissue. Four out of five lumps found in the breast are not cancerous. However, it is vital that you visit you doctor when you discover any sort of lump in your breast or underars.

Breast Pain or Tenderness

If your breasts are suddenly more tender than usual or if you have a nagging pain in your breast, you should make an appointment to see your doctor.

Changes in the Skin

If your breast skin suddenly becomes pitted or red, or if you notice any changes in the shape of your breast, you should visit your doctor immediately. While there can be many reasons for this change, you must get a proper diagnosis.

Nipple Changes

If you start experiencing any changes in your nipples you should also make an appointment with your doctor. Such changes can be bloody discharge, peeling and flaking, and even an inverted nipple.

Detection is the Key

It is imperative that women get yearly mammograms and that men are routinely checked for breast cancer. As I said at the beginning, early detection is the key. Hopefully, one day we will be able to say this disease no longer exists. But, until then we must remain vigilant.

Help Women Who Can't Afford it Get Mammograms

The Breast Cancer Site has been around for years now, just by clicking on that page daily you help women who might not be able to afford it get mammograms. Over the years they have provided millions of free mammograms. It is easy to click this site every day and you can even sign up for an email reminder.

The address of the site is, visit today.


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  • Uninvited Writer profile image

    Susan Keeping 5 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Please do share it :)

  • Alecia Murphy profile image

    Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

    If you don't mind, I'm going to share the link to this hub on my hub. I'm very glad you were able to beat Breast Cancer and share this valuable information with others.

  • RNMSN profile image

    Barbara Bethard 7 years ago from Tucson, Az

    wonderful story and a great tribute to all women ! congratulations on 11 yrs and many more!!

  • Just Ask Susan profile image

    Susan Zutautas 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada


    I too am a survivor to breast cancer. Great hub! Thanks so much for sharing.

  • profile image

    moons 7 years ago

    Great hub. :)

  • Uninvited Writer profile image

    Susan Keeping 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Thanks for the wonderful comments.

    Hey Brenda, long time no see :)

  • Joy56 profile image

    Joy56 7 years ago

    this is a brilliant hub, one that could benefit all of us ladies.... Brenda Scully. x

  • rmcrayne profile image

    rmcrayne 7 years ago from San Antonio Texas

    Wow UW, thanks for sharing your story. Congratulations on 11+ years.

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 7 years ago from Northern, California

    It is beautiful that you are a survivor of cancer. Thank you for sharing your story.


  • Jerilee Wei profile image

    Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

    This is a very important hub. All breast cancer survivors should be sharing their stories, not only for themselves, but for those who are going through it or will go through it.

    I'm a two year survivor and I mark the day that I was diagnosed by my anniversary date on hubpages, since not being able to sleep worrying about whether I was going to live or die is what brought me here. I've written about The Gift That Can't Be Returned, and will link this to it.

  • JaneA profile image

    JaneA 7 years ago from California

    I'm a 4 year survivor. I had a similar treatment to you - surgery, chemo and radition. I love hearing about other women who are still healthy after their treatment. Thanks for sharing your story and promoting breast cancer awareness.

  • SweetiePie profile image

    SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

    Informative hub, and I believe sharing your personal experience can help many women.

  • 2besure profile image

    Pamela Lipscomb 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

    I am so glad you are still here to share you wisdom with us. You are a survivor of cancer. I do examination, but I have cystic breasts, so I am never quite sure what's going on.

  • Princessa profile image

    Wendy Iturrizaga 7 years ago from France

    Thanks for sharing your story, it brings hope to those who are undergoing treatment and it is an eye opener to those who think that "it only happens to other people, not me"

    Prevention and early detection can save lives!

  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish 7 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

    Congratulations on survival and hearty good wishes and prayers going up for continued Life. The sheer amount of pink I am seeing everywhere in town this month shows how much effort is needed to defeat this disease. Cancer is insidious and must and will be defeated.

    I know those that have died and those that have survived and those that went back to the doc and their cancer had disappeared. I want people to survive and thrive in life. We can do it.


    Congratulations and a long happy life!

  • Sage Williams profile image

    Sage Williams 7 years ago

    Lots of great information. Congratulations on 11 years. Thanks so much for sharing. Sage